Local Governments must continue to use local newspapers to keep ratepayers informed

Local Governments must continue to use local newspapers to keep ratepayers informed

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On 17th April, the Hon. Shelley Hancock, Minister for Local Government issued a media release outlining regulatory changes apparently designed to take pressure off ratepayers, businesses and councils.  One such amendment to local government regulations is: “removing the requirement for council notices to be advertised in newspapers and instead allow the relevant notice to be published on the council’s website.”

The Manilla Express, a small, independent and family-run business, has been “The Voice of Manilla for 118 years” but is now at risk of succumbing to the economic hardship that so many other small-town newspapers have fallen victim to in recent times.  This regulatory change has allowed Tamworth Regional Council to no longer patronise the small local business, and the Council’s decision highlights the distinct lack of consideration to the plight of small rural communities.  

Rural small businesses and communities have done it tough for a long time.  What hope do we have if our local council doesn’t support us?   It also feels discriminatory towards the people who do not use technology to get their information and news.  

By allowing local councils to NOT advertise in local newspapers, local councils (and YOUR local council) will have less transparency... just imagine what they could get away with if they think nobody is watching!